'Mean Girls' Director Mark Waters Tackling 'Dork Diaries' (Exclusive)

Mark Waters - H 2015
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Lionsgate hopes the film will be the first installment of a franchise based on the Rachel Renee Russell YA best-sellers.

Mark Waters, who directed the high school classic Mean Girls, is going back to school with Lionsgate’s adaptation of Rachel Renee Russell’s YA book series Dork Diaries.

The director is in negotiations to direct the movie, which Lionsgate hopes will target a youth audience as well as their parents with the goal to launch a franchise.

The books, New York Times best-sellers, have over 21 million copies in print and have been translated into 36 languages. Nine installments have been published with the 10th book due to hit shelves Oct. 20.

Instead of high school, Waters will bring his comedic touch to middle school, with a tale centering on an eighth grader Nikki Maxwell and her family as she navigates life in a private school, making new friends and avoiding enemies.

The books, which have appeal with the tween set and their parents, have a unique voice and the prose is supplemented with drawings and comic strips.

Annie Hendy wrote the script for the project, which will be released via Lionsgate’s Summit label. John Sacchi is producing.

Overseeing for the studio is Erik Feig, co-president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, as well as co-president of production Bobby Cohen, director of production and development Bree Bailey, and creative exec Jessica Switch.

Waters, whose other credits range from Freaky Friday to Mr. Popper’s Penguins to Vampire Academy, is repped by CAA.